News and updates on acquisitions, holdings, and activities of Special Collections, Michigan State University Libraries
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Over the past several decades Special Collections has acquired a number of illuminated manuscript facsimiles. Thanks to funding provided by the MSU Class of 1994 Library Endowment Fund, a recent addition to our holdings in this area is Das Schwarze Stundenbuch [The Black Hours], which is a full color reproduction of the Black Hours in the Pierpont Morgan Library. The original was produced in Bruges in 1475 probably for a member of the Burgundian nobility. It gains its name from being one of the few surviving books of hours with all the vellum leaves stained black, the result of immersion in an iron copper solution to obtain the black coloring before it was painted. This immersion made the vellum brittle, which explains why only a few survive to this day. Fortunately, visitors to Special Collections have the opportunity to see not quite the real thing, but a volume very close to it.
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